North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to be trying to come to terms with a fast changing scenario. The failed second-summit, in Hanoi with Donald Trump, appears to still be preying on his mind. His younger sister Kim Yo-jong used to always be at his side. She was influential and was there to provide her input in both of the meetings with the US president but, since the failed hanoi summit, she has not been visible. She was not there when Kim went to Vladivostok in April to meet Vladimir Putin. In fact, she only reappeared 50 days later at the 2019 Mass Games.

Her seat was next to her brother at the event in Pyongyang. It is possible that her reduced visibility could have been intentional following the failure of the second nuclear summit.

The Guardian reports Kim Jong-un was at the inauguration of the 2019 Mass Games. His wife Ri Sol-ju was with him as were senior North Korean officials. The venue was the May Day Stadium that could accommodate 150,000. However, Kim was not happy with the performance of the gymnasts and dancers.

The Mass Games and unrest in Kim's camp

The show is popular in North Korea.

It involves gymnastics coupled with artistic performance and continues for five months. The rehearsals go on for months to ensure synchronized performance because it is a show where children participate in large numbers. The backdrop of the stadium keeps changing to highlight the importance of various aspects of the country.

This year, the organizers have probably not gauged the pulse of the leader correctly. In the words of the state news agency KCNA, Kim Jong-un heaped criticism on those responsible for the presentation.

The Guardian confirms news of Kim Yong-chol's return.

Kim Yong-chol is a senior government official who holds a rank similar to that of the US Secretary of State. It seems there was an incorrect news item in a section of the media in South Korea. They also reported that Kim Yong-chol was sent to a labor camp following the failed second summit.

Returning to the spotlight

According to Reuters, as North Korea’s former top nuclear envoy, Kim Yong-chol was with Kim Jong-un at the inauguration of an art performance. There were conflicting reports in the media about shakeups in Kim’s team. This was subsequent to the failed nuclear talks with the US. However, Kim Yong-chol appears to be a force in the power structure, even now. He was one of the 12 “leading officials” who accompanied Kim Jong-un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju to an entertainment program.

When Pompeo was asked, in May, about possibilities of a “shakeup” of Kim’s negotiating team, he was non-committal. He said that the respective leaders decide on the composition of their team. The country is also known as the hermit kingdom and secrecy surrounds all its activities, hence it is difficult to ascertain the truth.